Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 28° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  Outdoors

Mount Spokane hour change making it harder for morning skiers

Skiers and snowboarders bask in the sunshine on newly groomed fresh snow at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park on  Dec. 16, 2015. Morning skiers knocking out a lap or two on Mt. Spokane before work will find it hard to make their 9 a.m. meetings next season. (COURTESY OF MT SPOKANE SKI AND S / COURTESY OF MT SPOKANE SKI AND S)
Skiers and snowboarders bask in the sunshine on newly groomed fresh snow at Mt. Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park on Dec. 16, 2015. Morning skiers knocking out a lap or two on Mt. Spokane before work will find it hard to make their 9 a.m. meetings next season. (COURTESY OF MT SPOKANE SKI AND S / COURTESY OF MT SPOKANE SKI AND S)

Morning skiers knocking out a lap or two on Mount Spokane before work will find it hard to make their 9 a.m. meetings next season.

This winter the park’s opening time shifted from 6:30 to 7 a.m.

The time change gives snow plows more time to clear parking lots, said Lara Gricar a program specialist for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

“It helps us to mitigate conflict between the plow truck and park visitors,” she said.

The change is also in response to increased visitation at the park, head ranger Jerry Johnson said.

“It’s amazing how many people are coming up now,” he said.

Because the park doesn’t open until 7 a.m., the earliest a skier could be at Mount Spokane’s uphill run is about 7:15. Entering the park before hours could earn you a $150 ticket per state law, although Johnson said that’s “the last thing we want to do.”

The change will be particularly detrimental for uphill skiers and cross-country skiers looking for early-morning workouts.

Some user groups have questioned the change and noted they were not consulted before the decision was made.

“We did not have discussions with user groups regarding this change because we felt that it was a safety issue,” Gricar said.

Although there have been no accidents, there have been close calls, Gricar and Johnson said.

Travis Nichols, an avid skier and a key player in the development of the uphill ski policy, said the change has already had a negative impact.

“That half an hour, believe it or not, really makes a big difference,” he said.

The issues with plowing are real, he said. But the 6:30 a.m. opening time was identified in 2014 as an important component of the uphill policy. Nichols hasn’t spoken with state park managers about the change, but he said it’s something he and others are interested in discussing.

“I don’t think everyone is observing the new time, unfortunately. That’s a challenge to the state park,” he said. “But some people are, and so it’s diminishing some peoples’ ability to go.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.